Spring is officially sprung. The snowdrops are bobbing their beautiful brilliant white bells along the hedgerows in the wintry sunshine and the creative sap is rising, unfurling new shoots with vigor and the promise of flower in the shape of two rather wonderful art collaborations.
I am talking of course, firstly, of the new ‘Longhouse Collective’ based at the Grenaby Studios. Founded by Claire Pearse (Elementisle), Nicola Dixon and Graham Hall, their desire is to create a like-minded artistic community with an emphasis on creating quality bodies of innovative work with a professional ethic, both individually and collaboratively. As an evolving long term project they will be showcasing their art and contemporary craft and that of other Manx makers both locally and overseas. There are some fabulous plans in progress for more Longhouse spaces and Nicola Dixon will be the next to take delivery of hers around the end of the month. She’s planning to spend time working from both Grenaby and her studio at home in Peel.
Other artists and artisans with their work at the Longhouse are Little Tree Soaps, Breeze Candles, Mark Boyd (who is shortlisted for ‘Outdoor Photographer of the Year 2017), Julia Ashby Smyth, Laxey Woollen Mills, Jeremy Paul and … I’m sure I’ve missed somebody out…!
Saturday saw the opening of the redesigned shop space and when I called in to say hello early afternoon, the place was buzzing. I did however, manage to get a chance to say hello to all of the artists, get the low down on some exciting plans for the future- in particular this year’s IOM Art Festival early May should be amazing – and stock up with birthday cards and a present for my niece. Open Fridays and Saturdays, if you haven’t sampled the loveliness of Grenaby yet then I highly recommend you head out soon with the purpose of tracking it down. Tucked away in Ballabeg, once you know where it is (just two turns off the main road) you’ll wonder why you ever thought it was hard to find.
The second rather wonderful art collaboration is all a-happening in Onchan. Kierd Collective is the new generation of Manx art and currently comprises of Kim Graziano, Alice Fayle, Reap what you Sew, Flamingo, Scandi Interiors by Maja and Yarny Gráinne.
The shop space looks amazing from what I have seen on social media and when I visited over Christmas it had a really young and vibrant feel to it. I didn’t get a chance to call in and see them at the weekend but was really delighted to see Claire and Nicola at Grenaby sporting gorgeous little crocheted hearts inspired by Yarny Gráinne’s #sharetheloveheart project – a lovely crossover of these two initiatives.
Gráinne last year invited people to help her knit/crochet/sew/make a heart with a kind message attached to leave in a public place over Valentine’s week. This year it’s on again but for the whole of February.
She says on her Facebook page: “Giving or receiving a positive and uplifting message can make the world of difference to someone and brighten anyone’s day so let’s get as many hearts as we can out there over February! Here we can post inspiration, patterns for making hearts and pictures of where we leave them or find them over the next few weeks! Please invite anyone who you think might be interested so that we can share the love! Everyone is welcome!” To get involved follow the link above.
The opening of Manx Miniatures at the Isle Gallery on Sunday did not disappoint. I had a really interesting conversation with Juan Moore who asked me which was my favourite out of the whole show. I walked around each artist’s section of the exhibition, picking out the ones I particularly liked but when it came down to which one I would buy I really struggled to choose. Colleen Corlett’s execution is exquisite; Kate Jerry’s colour palette really floats my boat; the meanings behind Juan’s pieces and how he executes them make them really interesting and appealing; Mike Starkey’s bold style is somehow classic; Colette Gambell’s latest work is exciting; Anna Clucas’s work is fascinating; Howard Shimmin’s use of colour is energising; Julie Roberts achieved the most amazing work on the tiniest of scales and Julie Collins’ watercolours are something pretty special. Katerina Pawlowksa, in her first exhibition at a local gallery has a lot to be proud of and Vici Blackburn’s beautiful little ceramics and Lucy Savage’s glass pieces are eminently collectible.
It’s been quite a challenge for some of them to work on this scale. Although Juan’s work is not normally large, these pieces are around a quarter of the size of his smallest work. I won’t quote exactly what he said but let’s just say he found it hard!
Mike Starkey, such a generous artist with his time and skills, told me he was off to Jurby school this week to spend time doing art classes using recycled materials. He was walking around with the white insert you find under the biscuit tin lid as I was talking to him and said he was planning on using pizza bases (the plasticy things, not the pizza dough!) to show the children that you can paint on just about anything. Perhaps most inspiring though is that Mike regularly does this kind of work for free or just in return for a bite of lunch.
It’s a lovely show and the prices are very reasonable, so if you are thinking about starting a collection of original local artwork you’d be making a very good start investing in a piece of artwork from this show. As I said earlier, there are lots of lovely pieces and I’m sure something will catch your fancy.
Eloise White posted up this video from her very successful ‘A Happy Medium’ exhibition last year at The Sayle Gallery.
Phil Kneen shared his latest blog post on his long-term photo essay. Dare I say he’s beginning to like being at sea?
Paul Parker posted up this lovely little 10 x 8 acrylic painting of Apple Cross in Scotland – his first acrylic in a long while. He says he’s going to paint whatever takes his fancy for a while so look out for some of his new work in this interesting change of direction.
I was delighted to read this week that the Isle of Man Arts Council has purchased 3 of Rob Jones’s fabulous sculptures for their loan collection – you can read the full article here.
I spotted some of Barbara Glassey-Cole’s work on the Manx Paintings Facebook page. Barbara and I used to work together many moons ago so it was lovely to be back in touch. These are four pictures she currently has for sale (get int touch for details).
And finally, although not really art, more artisan, I just wanted to share the fantastic news that Noa Bakehouse has been awarded Britain’s Favorite Food Producer and Apple Orphanage, Britain’s Favourite Drinks Producer by LandLove Magazine. Filbey’s Restaurant came second as Britain’s favourite place to eat. Huge congratulations to all of them!
On now – Mannin Art Group Exhibition at Milntown Cafe
On now – Manx Miniatures at The Isle Gallery
7 February – Manx Radio 5.30pm-6pm Spotlight with Sarah Hendy
9th February – Isle of Man Arts Council Funding Deadline
10 February – 5 May – ‘Crossing Open Ground’ – David Gilbert: A Retrospective
9 February – Isle of Man Drawing Club – Vintage Fashion, 7pm-9pm – at Keird Collective, Village Walk, Onchan
12 February – The Hobbit – Journey to Middle Earth – 9.30am-12.30pm – The Isle Gallery
12 February – Action Jackson (Jackson Pollock) for kids – 2.30pm-5pm – The Isle Gallery
13 February – Monster Pots – Who can make the best worst pot – Age 5+ 10am-12.3pm – The Isle Gallery
15 February – Isle of Man Drawing Club Nude Life Drawing – 7pm-9pm at Noa Bakehouse
26 February – Absolute Beginners in Watercolour Painting – 7pm-9.30pm – The Isle Gallery
27 February – Absolute Beginners in Watercolour Painting – 10am-12.30pm – The Isle Gallery
27 & 28 February – Manx Mosaics by Ellie – Design and Create a Mosaic Heart – Workshop – from 6pm at St. Catherine’s Church Hall, Port Erin
1 March – Printmaking for Beginners and Improvers – 7pm-9.30pm – The Isle Gallery
2 March – Printmaking for Beginners and Improvers – 10am-12.30pm – The Isle Gallery
2 March – An Evening of Urban Screen Printing – 7pm-9.30pm – The Isle Gallery
3 March – Art for the Heart – Vizualise the Change you want to See – 10am-4pm – Ramsey
18 March – DIY Mothers Day Crafts – Mum & Me for adults – 1pm-4pm – The Isle Gallery
If you’ve got a workshop or class coming up that you would like me to share please just drop me an email: email@example.com or get in touch via Facebook/Messenger.
Here’s this week’s round up of images from Social Media. Click on the pictures to view in the lightbox.
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Have a great week!